Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poll Results: Top Hat AND Swing Time

The results are in! The winner(s)of the poll question, "Which is your favorite Astaire/Rogers musical?" is Top Hat (1935) AND Swing Time (1936)! Here's how the carnage looked:

Top Hat (1935) 22 (31%)
Swing Time (1936) 22 (31%)
Shall We Dance (1937) 7 (10%)
The Gay Divorcee (1934) 4 (5%)
Follow the Fleet (1936) 4 (5%)
Flying Down to Rio (1933) 3 (4%)
Carefree (1938) 3 (4%)
The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) 3 (4%)
The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle (1939) 2 (2%)
Roberta (1935) 0 (0%)

I have no problem with this poll ending in a two-way tie because one could make a persuasive argument for either Top Hat or Swing Time being Fred and Ginger's most beloved film! Swing Time usually wins this contest handily, but this time Top Hat gave the former quite a bit of trouble, as Top Hat led the voting by as many as seven votes early on.

Each film has its own virtues. Top Hat has the better supporting cast, comedic dialogue, and songs. Swing Time has Ginger looking her very best, with all that rehearsal time sculpting her magnificent form to perfection; plus, there's THE dress, which surpasses any and all dresses ever crafted for any film EVER. You can quote me on that. Swing Time also has Fred owning "The Way You Look Tonight", singing it better than anyone ever did or well (sorry, Sinatra). Top Hat has the better pacing, as Swing Time has to burn thirty minutes before getting to a Fred and Ginger song and dance number. This is typical George Stevens bloat, though in a Fred and Ginger film, it thankfully doesn't come close to the director's 1950s indulgences (Giant, anyone?). Swing Time does have the best dance number in "Never Gonna Dance" and that positively tear-jerking finale with fred and Ginger simultaneously singing each other's songs from earlier in the movie, with Ginger taking "The Way You Look Tonight" and Fred handling "A Fine Romance" and it ending triumphantly with their embrace. LOVE that!

As for the other films, I'm rather surprised that Roberta didn't garner a single vote! Not one! Irene Dunne singing like an angel wasn't enough, I guess. Maybe it was that frog-throated dope in the beginning, or Ginger's annoying Russian princess accent that was present even when she sang. Or perhaps it was the unloved studliness of Randolph Scott, whose appearance in Follow the Fleet didn't seem to affect that movie's four votes. I also have to applaud those gutsy individualists who cast their vote for The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle and Carefree. I'd be interested in learning the whys of your selections, other than "it's my favorite"!

Regardless of which films won or didn't, I always find something to enjoy in even the least of Fred and Ginger's movies, and their worst is 100 times better than a lot of people's "best." I'd rather watch Fred and Ginger "do the Yam" than a lot of other acts doing their best-known numbers! I love these movies that much.


  1. Roberta got no votes? Roberta is so cute though!!
    But Swing Time is my favourite. I hope 'THE dress' is the never gonna dance one, because that is my absolute favourite one.


  2. C.K., how interesting that the final poll results are pretty much the way I would rank the Astaire-Rogers movies. I voted for "Top Hat" but for me it really is a tie between it and "Swing Time" for top place. (Is it really 30 min. before Fred and Ginger do "Pick Yourself Up"? It didn't seem like it.) Followed by "Shall We Dance?" (all those fantastic songs by the Gershwins), "The Gay Divorcee," and "Follow the Fleet" (a rather sappy movie elevated by their best single number ever--"Let's Face the Music and Dance"). A great poll topic as usual, and I eagerly await the next one.

  3. I voted for Gay Divorcee but that and Top Hat are pretty much equal to me. I just voted for Gay Divorcee since I knew it would get less votes.

    However I don't hold Swing Time in as high regard as so many others.

  4. I voted for Barkleys (actually, I think I voted for it twice...I'm not sure...;-D)!

    Although, I love anything Fred & Ginger (Even though I can't STAND Randolph Scott), and especially Swing Time and Carefree, TBOB holds a very special place in my heart!

    It's actually the only Fred & Ginger I own, a gift from my mother when I was sick many, many years ago. It's on VHS. Up until about two years ago, I only had a VHS player in my bedroom, so I watched TBOB a gazillion times! I'm pretty sure I've seen it more than anyone else EVER! ;-D

    And I really do just love it. I don't know if it's Bouncin' The Blues, Fred's awful French impersonation that fools everyone, Oscar Levent, or just the fact that it was their final film, but it really is a favorite of mine!

  5. I'll be honest that I'm torn between the two winners. I love both of those films. Each has something that I really adore.

  6. I voted for Top Hat, but it only just barely edged out Swing Time in my mind, so I'm glad to see they both get the honors.

  7. A great post, as always! I voted for Top Hat, but that was before I saw Swing Time. If I had seen it before I voted, my vote would have made it the winner ;)

  8. Swing Time got my vote! It my favorite Fred and Ginger movie. But really, everything they did was great.


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